You know when you're just going about your day and your mind just happens to slide across something that feels bigger than anything that could fit in your puny selfish noggin? Well that happened to me today. I was thinking about how we will be going back to the hospital soon and what our time there will look like. Then I thought of the families that we saw while we were there last time. I wonder if some of them are still there. Heartbreaking. I wondered what we could do to encourage them when we go back. This time we are in a different place emotionally. Landon will not have to have an open heart surgery (at least not yet) so his recovery time will be faster (hopefully). This time we could reach out beyond his small PICU room.
This is still only an idea floating around in my mind. Well no, it's already made it's way to my heart. I believe God would like us to bring the children a special toy. I haven't made this idea vocal yet, meaning I haven't told Ryan. I'm anxiously watching the clock... waiting for noon when he will come home for lunch. Poor Ryan, he gets hit with so much over his lunch break. This is also when I sprung on him the idea of running a half marathon that I only had two weeks to train for, or just yesterday the proposal of us going to MN this weekend. It is taking all of my self control not to pick up my phone and text him, "God gave me an idea. Can't wait to tell you about it!" But I know that would just make his imagination go wild with the crazy possibilities and he may skip lunch all together haha. No, best to catch him off guard when he is away from the stresses of work and has food in his mouth :)
After playing around with the idea more and more and asking God to show me what toys would be best. My eyes wandered onto Landon's froggie pillow pet and instantly I thought, "that would be perfect!". Most of you with children in your house are already aware of these soft cuddly animals that turn into pillows, here's Landon laying on his.
Ryan and I could buy a couple kids one, but there are so many little warriors in that hospital that need a little joy. So that's why I'm writing this on my blog and not just simply in my journal. I want to give each of you an opportunity to reach out to these special kids.
I will write more after I talk to Ryan, get his approval, and brainstorm details. I am so excited! Clock go FASTER!!!
I must humbly admit that I've played with the notion of forgetting about this. In the past couple hours I have felt relief that I could let this go and because I haven't posted this or told anyone yet, I would have no accountability. I don't want to ask people for money for pillow pets. At times the whole idea just seems silly. It's not that important... right?
Yes, all I am trying to do is buy strange shaped pillows that have a small semblance to animals, and it would be easy to say it doesn't matter, but I was hit by the painful reality that these are for children. I can't ignore this because that would be ignoring what these kids go through everyday. For most kids it would just be a toy, but for a child who spends their entire day stuck in a bed day in and day out, this could be a friend, someone to hold when they're getting blood drawn, someone to talk to late at night when they can't sleep. More than that, I believe Jesus could use these pillows to tell these kids and their families that He cares. He hasn't forgotten about them... even though their schools still have class without them, their friends still have fun without them, even though to some of them it may feel like life is just going on without them while their stuck in that hospital bed and people have forgotten about them, God hasn't forgotten. God spoke this to my heart, "I can't forget about them Natalie, can you?" The answer is no! NO, there is no way I can forget the faces that I saw in that hospital. I want to go back there and bring smiles to them.
So I told Ryan all about it at lunch and he said, "I think that is great!" The only concerns he had were for the older kids. While we were in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) we saw some kids who had to be at least 15. "They wont want a pillow pet. I don't want to just forget about them because their older." Oh how I love that mans heart :) but truthfully I don't know what we could get for them. We decided to just start with the pillow pets and see where God takes it. I am so blessed to have a husband who shares my heart for the hurting.
Why pillow pets?
I want the toy we bring to be something nice, something that they will really get excited about. God knows these kids need a little excitement in their lives. We noticed last time that the toys that these kids were given were usually cheaply made. Don't get me wrong, I know that kids will love any toy no matter how much it cost, but I just feel like they deserve something nice. I have seen how kids love these things. When I worked in the daycare most of the kids had one and they made nap times a little more fun :) Also, what a perfect thing for kids who are cooped up in a hospital bed all day. They can fold it up and cuddle with it or use it for a pillow.
A regular size pillow pet cost $19.99 and a peewee one (like Landon's) costs $15.99 I have emailed the company that makes them and asked if they would be willing to give us a discount, but I have not heard back from them yet. I realize these are expensive, but let's face it, for most of us, it's nothing more than we would spend on a toy for our own children and not bat an eye. It truly is not much for most of us, but for a parent who has lost their job because they have had to move so their child can get the care they need, it's not possible to spend money on something like a nice toy. My heart tears for these parents that have given up everything because they don't want to lose their baby. We want to show them we care, hear their stories, pray with them, encourage them, hug their children, basically we just want to bring God's light into a very dark and fearful place. We know that "people don't care what you know until they know that you care" in other words, people don't care about your Jesus, until they see Him and feel His love through you.
Ryan and I would also love to give them to any siblings that God leads us to. These kids often feel even more forgotten then the child who is stuck in the hospital bed.
Our goal is to buy 100! We realize this is a lot of money, but I know there are a lot of you out there who have hearts that break for these kids too. If you feel led and are able to give, Ryan has set up a fundraiser site, just click the yellow button that says "donate" at the top of this page. Each gift is so appreciated, even if it's just a $1 or 2. I'm also going to try to get a facebook site up and running sometime soon. We do not know yet when Landon's heart cath will be. He has an echo on the 3rd of Oct. in Bismarck then we're assuming they'll want us in Minneapolis soon after.
This is just a small idea, but we're giving it to the same God who once took 5 small barley loaves and 2 fish and fed over 5,000 people. So here we are Lord. Standing here with outstretched empty arms. Only You can take nothing and make it into something meaningful. We'd love to be the vessel that carries your love into the places that are so full of fear and hopelessness.
I know one little boy who thinks it's a good idea :)